June 2009

BMA: Day One Recap

BMA Social Media ConferenceThe fine volunteers and staff of the Business Marketing Association are doing a great job recapping the event so far. Here is the link to the official BMA Social Media site at http://www.marketing.org/unlearnlive for links to twitter updates (#bma09), blog postings and official recaps.


Here are my quick thoughts.


Someone said it best when commenting on the amount of people in attendance (300+) – “This isn’t a marketing recession, this is a marketing resurgence.” There was great buzz all day starting with the staging of the “man in the chair” McGraw Hill ad, to announcing the GD Crain Award winner Jeffrey Hayzlett, that night.


Don’t be afraid. That was a theme that was heard loud and clear throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to lose control and try new things as social media tools and tactics become more prevalent in today’s business world.


Character counts was something else that popped out loud and clear, especially from IBM. The speaker from IBM quoted Lincoln and said, “Character is the tree, and reputation is the shadow. Concentrate on the tree.” Or something like that.


LinkedIn and the growth they’ve achieved still amazes me and their VP of Marketing did a great job ending the day before giving way to cocktails, a great comedian and an awards show.


Be sure to visit the link above for more insight and recaps of the day, and follow BlueSilver on twitter at twitter.com/bluesilverinc.

BMA Chapter Leaders Day

What is the value of the national infrastructure? What value do people get from being members rather than just attending events? How do we attract new corporate marketing members and leaders? Should there be a focused effort at attracting “millennials” to BMA and b-to-b marketing.


Those were some of the main topics discussed at this year’s Business Marketing Association Chapter Leader Day at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. This session preceded the national conference which kicks-off today, June 10, at noon. (Agenda highlights in previous posts.) Attendees included more than 50 local BMA chapter officers from across the country.


I didn’t say much during the sessions yesterday. Was too busy thinking about my next tweet! But here are my quick thoughts and opinions based on my history with the BMA and what I heard yesterday during the sessions and subsequent conversations with leaders.


A strong national infrastructure and centralized management makes local chapters stronger. If done properly, and BMA is well on its way to improving its core, a national infrastructure can provide chapters – especially smaller chapters in smaller markets – resources and opportunities for growth that could not be attained alone. A strong national presence also gives local members a sense of belonging to a bigger cause than what they do at work on a daily basis or locally as part of a standalone chapter.


Membership has his benefits and national is doing its best to formalize and communicate the great benefits that individuals get by becoming members. Of course there are financial benefits through discounts to events and members-only opportunities. But at the end of the day, membership means that you support a movement and cause that is business-to-business marketing. If you are in the profession and you want to see it grow and thrive and be more respected, then joining and getting involved is a way to support it. That may not be as tangible to some people, but in the long run a strong organization that supports, leads, advocates and helps grow what we do, it becomes tangible over time.


A big theme of the incoming national leadership is to attract more corporate marketers to the national board, as well as help local chapters attract more marketers to their boards. On the national level, it is not only recruiting corporate marketers. Rather, it is recruiting board members who have a history and ties to local chapters. And most importantly, are willing to work to help advance the goals of the organization. As was the case in Chicago, you get big time corporate marketing speakers. You get them to join your boards. You get them and their teams active. The rest (agencies, suppliers, academics, students) will follow.


Lastly, I love the fact that many chapters are reaching out to youngsters in the profession or still in school and spreading the word about b-to-b marketing and BMA. It should be more of an education/awareness initiative rather than communicating the great things b-to-b has to offer. I have no stats on this, but I would think the majority of marketing and communications jobs out there are b-to-b in some way. But youngsters in undergrad and grad schools are totally focused on reaching consumers. Which is not a bad thing to get into, but and education of the fact that there are differences and there are a group of people and an organization that promotes b-to-b would be valuable in of itself.

BMA National Conference: Blog, Tweet, Tweet, Blog

We will be blogging and tweeting from this year’s national Business Marketing Association Conference being held in Chicago this year starting June 10. Probably more tweeting than blogging, but we’ll see how the week goes.


I have been to many national BMA conferences, especially within the last 10 years. It was always exciting when we heard the buzz about more than 100 people attending. But this year it looks like there will be more than 300 people in attendance representing 200+ companies from more than 25 states nationwide. As national conference chair Gary Slack has stated in his e-mails, we are definitely “defying economic trends” and I think it is exciting for not only the BMA and b-to-b marketing, but also for marketing in general. It is proof that there are great things happening by smart people and that we are still willing to invest in idea sharing and networking to improve upon what we are doing in our day-to-day work environments.


Ralph Oliva from Penn State’s Institute for the Study of Business Markets will be setting the stage for the conference starting at noon on Wednesday, June 10.


Keynote and general-session speakers will include:


  • Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, Salesforce.com
  • Patrick Crane, vice president of marketing and advertising, LinkedIn
  • Scott Davis, general manager, Chicago office, Prophet, and author of The Shift (to be published in June 2009)
  • Tom Haas, chief marketing officer, Siemens Corporation
  • Mark Mitten, chief brand officer, Chicago 2016
  • Ralph Oliva, executive director, Institute for the Study of Business Markets
  • Joe Pine, author of The Experience Economy and Authenticity
  • Matt Preschern, vice president of marketing, IBM
  • Al and Laura Ries, co-authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and War in the Boardroom
  • David Meerman Scott, author of the recently updated The New Rules of Marketing & PR and the just-published World Wide Rave
  • Al Saltiel, vice president of marketing, Navistar
  • Sam Sebastian, director, local and b2b markets, Google
  • Andy Sernovitz, CEO of The Blog Council, founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and author of the just-revised Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking


I will do my best to spread the word to people not in attendance, but check marketing.org for other blogging and tweeting going on this week. If you want me to keep my eye on anything of particular interest, please let me know. Follow me here or at twitter.com/bluesilverinc.


George Rafeedie


P.S. Join the Chicago BMA! (I am the local membership chair.)